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Borussia Mönchengladbach 0-2 Bayern München: Review

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Pep Guardiola's men did not really have to get out of second gear as they overcame Lucien Favre's talented Gladbach side, 0-2.

Lars Baron

The first game following the winter break is always interesting and this one was no different. Borussia Mönchengladbach had been in good form prior to the winter break and was expected to provide, however small, some degree of trouble to Bayern. Favre made one change to the side which started on Match-day 17; he played Alvaro Dominguez at the back to cover for the absences of Roel Brouwers and Tony Jantschke.

Pep Guardiola threw in a surprise by playing Mario Götze up front as a "falsche neun". This move seemed to work as Götze caused the first problem for Gladbach in the sixth minute as he overcame the defender who was on his case with a clever little flick and shot; the ball however hit the post. When Thomas Müller set him up again in the seventh minute, he made no mistake and converted brilliantly.

Bayern continued to cause Gladbach problems. Marc Andre Ter Stegen kept out two equally wonderful long range attempts from Rafinha and Toni Kroos respectively. Juan Arango provided the only bright light for Gladbach with his first half attempts. The half sort of lulled into the final five minutes with Bayern building around the patient Gladbach defense steadily and attempting to increase their lead. The final five minutes saw some action which set the tone for the second half as Gladbach came at Bayern.

Max Kruse was denied at first under the watchful eyes of Manchester United coach David Moyes, Germany head coach Joachim Löw and the universally admired Gladbach legend Jupp Heynckes. His attempt ended up setting up a counter attack for Bayern which Müller almost completed.

In the second half, Bayern seemed a bit hungrier as they looked to add to their lead. Müller, Shaqiri, Thiago and Kroos all tried their luck but could not add a much needed second. However, the successive attempts in and around the penalty area eventually led to a handball by Granit Xhaka. Müller converted the resulting penalty in style to score the final goal of the match in the 53rd minute. The action was not over though.

Max Kruse and Patrick Hermann could not make up the most of their opportunities before the hour mark. Two misses after the hour mark by Hermann though will linger in the memory. His first saw him control the ball well and get his shot past Manuel Neuer only for the far post to deny him. A wonderfully set up move which showcased all that is awesome about Favre's side saw Hermann end up in the penalty area unmarked with the goal at his mercy after 65 minutes of action. Rafael found him perfectly too only for Hermann to shoot waywardly away from goal.

Branimir Hrgota came on for Hermann and immediately got into the midst of the action but ultimately, the game fizzled out, with Claudio Pizarro having one final attempt before the match drew to a close.